What a brilliant and exciting return for Justin Hawkins. After a year or two away from the Rock music scene, he's back with new Super-Group HOT LEG. This is their debut album, Red Light Fever.
To start things off let's get things into perspective; not only are Hot Leg better than The Darkness, they seem to be gelling together more as friends and appear to be getting on swimmingly, so hopefully they'll be around for many years to come.
Tighter than an Italian Tennor's top trouser button, Hot Leg storm their way through 10 tracks of blistering fun-filled, rock-fuelled, wrecking ball romps, barely stopping to reload and filling your ears with delicious (it's GOT to be fattening) ear candy. Swooping block harmonies, thrashing guitar, brilliant drums and bass (dubbed the 'Power Zone' by the band),expert musicianship and they're most definatly not afraid to use keyboards to their campest abilities!
Of course, if you didn't much care for Hawkins' falsetto - Queen on Helium - power ballady - AC/DC riffing style then obviously you're not going to like this. The first track 'Chickens' pretty much confirms that Justin hasn't changed his song writing style (not that we'd ever ask him to).
Permisson To Land was an album that launched The Darkness in Super-Stardom. It was something different, a little off the hook but ultimatly, a damn fine piece of music. After a long wait the heat had died off a little allowing The Darkness to become figures of fun and ridicule rather than recieving praise for their obvious talent. One Way Ticket To Hell...And Back, I feel was more where Justin wanted to go with his music in the first place, and while it contains some of his best work to date the general feel of the album is a little too calculated for some, too studio experty. Bigger but not nessesarily better. Coupled with the fact The Darkness were becoming a rock cliche (drugs and arguments and a little too Spinal Tap) they were never going to last. The novelty for some had worn off well and truely and like all the brightest stars, they burnt out far too quickly.
But this is where Hot Leg differ, they are not a novelty and they won't wear off. They're not mega-stars anymore. The catsuits are gone. The glitter and gold, black panther pantomime is gone too, replaced with hot off the heals musian-ship which the band so obviously has and had in the first place.
Being out of the public eye is allowing Hot Leg to build up a strong following, hopefully they will have a few albums under their belt before the fickle world of main stream music. Bands that make it too big too quickly rarely last because they lack the substance that only comes after years a graft. Gimmicks grab attention, but become old quickly.
Hot Leg sound brilliant. They look well too. And as the fan-base swells, we're reminded just why we fell in love with The Darkness in the first place. This is something to get people up and moving, down and talking, driving and head banging. They will build up their sound and confidence. They will gradually filter into the soundtrack of our lives, and for Hawkins' fan base that never left his side, we are grateful he's still around. Not just around, but more of a musical force that he ever was when he was winning brit awards several years ago.
When I slipped this album into the CD player and pressed 'Play' I had a constant smile on my face for the next 35 minutes. Have they ever heard of doing things by halves? No? Brilliant!!! Roll on Hot Leg 2.